UK Scenery

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Andy1248
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UK Scenery

Post by Andy1248 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 2:44 pm

As I posted on the West-UK2 thread I thought it might be worthwhile to create a new UK Scenery thread.

Firstly on the subject of scenery creation, I do my scenery creation as a hobby, I am retired and in lockdown it is a great time filler. I am also aware of the fact that the excellent AA2 scenery has been created by a team of contributors within France. No doubt the team approach will provide the best results as it is not a particular lengthy process to make a basic scenery, particularly with some of the scenery tools currently available. The key element of of a successful scenery and the time required is in the detail (trees, water, airfields and objects). The team approach allows scenery areas to be allocated out for work then combined back into the scenery. The current UK sceneries have benefited from some vey welcome help with particular sites.

As my Condor Scenery contribution is amateur and not as skilled as some scenery designers then future UK sceneries could be made by a different person or team. They could also be of a different style i.e. synthetic textures as opposed to photo style. I prefer a photo style scenery but the synthetic (Slovenia) style provides a sharper definition.

All good discussion points and an invite for anyone else to have a go.

One of the points made in previous UK threads is the scenery coverage area. Experimenting with how big could I go, I tried to make a Big-UK scenery but is beyond my capabilities. Currently by merging West-UK and South East UK I have created a South UK scenery of 23x19 tiles (39gb of disc). By merging Scotland and North-UK to create UK-North which is 20x22 tiles(approx 26gb disc space). Not sure how big AA2 is or how it was made or if there is a way of joining two sceneries to make an scenery bigger than 20x22 tiles. It has been debated on this forum what the maximum size Condor 2 can handle. The only downside is the scenery size in terms of disc space. So far with these two big UK sceneries I found that they did not overlap and the shortfall was around just north of the Humber estuary. Adding a extra tile to the North of South-UK has brought the Humber estuary into the scenery.

Paul has indicated that glider pilots in the north tend to plan and fly tasks to the south so maybe there is a need for a scenery that starts at the border region and goes as far south as 22 tiles will allow. Or cover a specific area in the middle of the UK. I would welcome some feedback on this.

As things are at the moment I am currently working on South-UK which has a coverage indicated by the attached pic. This allows possible tasks from North West wales around the London zone and on though Kent with even a possible landing in France. The scenery is flyable but still needs a lot of detail work before release. UK-North has been made with a coverage once again by the attached pic. This also is flyable but no detail work has yet been carried out.

So these are the two proposed sceneries unless I get a new suggested coverage area or someone else steps up with a UK scenery.
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Last edited by Andy1248 on Thu Feb 18, 2021 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bre901
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Re: UK Scenery

Post by Bre901 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:04 pm

Not sure how big AA2 is or how it was made or if there is a way of joining two sceneries to make an scenery bigger than 20x22 tiles.
I would recommend that you contact dgtfer by PM and ask him those questions as I doubt he reads this thread (if he did I guess he would have intervened)
He has made the two largest landscapes for Condor (AA2 and CA), I'm sure he can help.
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Re: UK Scenery

Post by Andy1248 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:05 pm

Thanks I will do that.
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dgtfer
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Re: UK Scenery

Post by dgtfer » Thu Jan 28, 2021 3:54 pm

Andy1248 wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 2:44 pm
Currently by merging West-UK and South East UK I have created a South UK scenery of 23x19 tiles (39gb of disc). By merging Scotland and North-UK to create UK-North which is 20x22 tiles(approx 26gb disc space). Not sure how big AA2 is or how it was made or if there is a way of joining two sceneries to make an scenery bigger than 20x22 tiles. It has been debated on this forum what the maximum size Condor 2 can handle. The only downside is the scenery size in terms of disc space. So far with these two big UK sceneries I found that they did not overlap and the shortfall was around just north of the Humber estuary. Adding a extra tile to the North of South-UK has brought the Humber estuary into the scenery.

So these are the two proposed sceneries unless I get a new suggested coverage area or someone else steps up with a UK scenery.
Hi Andy,
Thank you for your kind words about AA2,
About Very big Sceneries we now know for sure that a UK scenery, that should be about 100 x 180 dds, is not too big for Condor2, CA has a size of 130 x 190 dds and we didn't experience specific problems since its release.
This scenery wouldn't be so huge, as it would have more than 50% of sea tiles, I guess it would be about 30GB if you are a bit cautious in the methods of compression used.
All your job done for airports and objects would be directly reusable.
To build such a big scenery, you will need to cut it into two halves so you can use all the Landscape editor functionality, and then merge them into a single one. That is relatively easy to do, as the grid will be perfectly aligned, all X condor coordinates (Easting) will be unchanged, and Y will be affected with simple addition.
Merging 2 different sceneries with unaligned grids is a bit more tricky, as you'll have to reassemble the various tiles (dds, for, and tr3) and then cut them on the final grid. But of course, if you have the initial sources, that will be much easier.
I'm ready to help you if you want, to set the mainframe of this big UK scenery, and it's 2 subsceneries, and I'm convinced that our Condorsim beta test team is also ready to help.
Last edited by dgtfer on Thu Jan 28, 2021 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: UK Scenery

Post by Andy1248 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:35 pm

Thanks for this I understand the two grids, similar to what I have done in extending the current UK sceneries. The base can be the South-UK scenery which I am working on at the moment, with second separate northern section grid aligned grid wise with the southern half. The current UK-North will not align and will need to be remade. But as you say the previous work on airfields etc can be reused.

Fortunately the UK is aligned roughly North/South which allows it to be created with the UTM 30 constraints.

I can make the two grids using QGIS and the Raw to Trn tool (unless there is another way which does not use the Raw To Trn tool)

Having got the two grids I am not sure how they could be merged together. Can this be done in LE or will I have to use something like QGIS.

I can keep the disc space down by as you say there are a lot of sea tiles. Unfortunately the current Water Alpha tool only works at 8192 but it is possible to make smaller sized sea tiles manually.

Thank you for your kind offer of the beta test team, I will see how I get on.
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dgtfer
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Re: UK Scenery

Post by dgtfer » Thu Jan 28, 2021 5:21 pm

Andy1248 wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:35 pm
I can make the two grids using QGIS and the Raw to Trn tool (unless there is another way which does not use the Raw To Trn tool)

Having got the two grids I am not sure how they could be merged together. Can this be done in LE or will I have to use something like QGIS.
There are much more powerful tools, that can handle unlimited size, covering several UTM zones.

Merging can be done with Photoshop, using Condor-Join and Condor-Cut scripts. First you merge squares of 10 x 10 dds in a single image (in fact 11x11 if you want to avoid the cutting limits) then you cut back your 100 new dds along the new grid. That's a repetitive task, and it will need a few hours to convert one scenery. You need first to know precisely the UTM coordinates of the origins of both the sceneries to calculate the offset to apply.
But you can also use tools like Global Mapper; loading your tiles (you have to georeference them first) then reproject and render them back. That process is much more complicated and you really need to know what you do, but it is unavoidable if your sceneries are not projected on the same UTM zone.
Airports being located with geographic coordinates in the .apt file, you just merge them and remove the duplicates.
For objects, you will need to use a small tool made by Marc Till, CoMeOb, to merge the .obj files.
Of course, everything is not so simple, and you'll need to manually patch a few problems, essentially at the border between several different sceneries; but that can be done with a limited amount of time.
UKsmall.jpg
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Andy1248
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Re: UK Scenery

Post by Andy1248 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 5:48 pm

Both working at the same time:

Rough draft of the area required and Condor tiles.

Image from QGIS of terrain and tile grid overlay.

PS - I do have GlobalMapper and use it a lot to make condor tiles.
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Re: UK Scenery

Post by KipperUK » Thu Jan 28, 2021 8:15 pm

Andy - the work you do on the UK scenery is hugely appreciated and very far from being amateur. Since the addition of trees, water and a thermal map, and the work that has been started on modelling the bigger objects, airfields and turnpoints - there isn't much more anyone could ask for, or do better.

If a 'Big-UK' map were to be similar in file size or smaller than having all of the individual UK maps installed, then it would make a lot of sense to do just to help people have to maintain fewer sceneries on disk.

It would of course allow some much longer tasks, some of which are flown on exceptional days in real life - but for most of us mortals, the existing ones cover the right areas for the sorts of flights we are likely to undertake. When we race, because of time constraints, they tend to be shorter tasks than you might in real life - because most racing is done in an evening after work rather than in the middle of a lovely sunny day off.

It's probably over to the Condor developers now to make a large scenery worthwhile if there aren't any other advantages. Anyone can fly a long task on a big scenery on Condor at the moment if they have the time to do so - so it will not take long for someone to do the south coast to the tip of Scotland and back, but improvements to the sim with dynamic/changing weather conditions and less certainty about being able to get a thermal, more airspace zones etc etc - if these improvements indeed come - will really make trying to fly (or set) a long 'realistic' task interesting and competitive.

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Re: UK Scenery

Post by Andy1248 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:52 pm

I have a problem:

My .bil file from QGIS was changed to a . raw file and processed by 'Raw to Trn' with no problem and the output to a new landscape directory was OK.

.bil hdr was:

BYTEORDER I
LAYOUT BIL
NROWS 32256
NCOLS 17664
NBANDS 1
NBITS 16
BANDROWBYTES 35328
TOTALROWBYTES 35328
PIXELTYPE SIGNEDINT
ULXMAP 289960.906736415
ULYMAP 6503455.61369959
XDIM 30
YDIM 30

Which translates to 23x42 Condor tiles or 92x168 dds patches. I have a top number of h91167.tr3 (15456 items) in the HeightMaps folder.

I used the 4gb patch on the Landscape Editor and tried to open the scenery.

The load stalled at about 2/3rds.

Have I exceeded the Landscape Editor limits? Earlier post suggested that 100x180 dds would be about OK for the UK.

My PC is a 64 bit i7-7700 at 3.6GHz processor with 16gb of RAM.

If I have to create two sceneries on Landscape Editor how do I merge the .trn, thermal map, and the hash files.

I have no problem with being able to merge texture tiles, objects and airfields.

Anyone have any idea to get LE to work with this size?
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Re: UK Scenery

Post by dgtfer » Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:26 am

You can open it with LE, but you need to hide the textures. That is why you need to build 2 smaller sceneries if you want to see your textures in LE.
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Re: UK Scenery

Post by Andy1248 » Fri Jan 29, 2021 11:32 am

The scenery at this stage has no textures. The scenery folder has only the the HeightMaps folder and the .trn file.

It is the initial/first load of the scenery to the LE which will allow me to create the folders an save the scenery including hash files etc.

As I see it there is no alternative other than to use the LE at this early stage. Unless there are other methods.

NOTE Think I may have solved it. Changed the LE Setting.ini to DrawTextures-0. Basic scenery aspects now present and I guess that all texture work will be by two smaller areas :D
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Re: UK Scenery

Post by dgtfer » Fri Jan 29, 2021 1:00 pm

Andy1248 wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2021 11:32 am
NOTE Think I may have solved it. Changed the LE Setting.ini to DrawTextures-0. Basic scenery aspects now present and I guess that all texture work will be by two smaller areas :D
You could have done it with the F1 key before selecting the scenery!
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Re: UK Scenery

Post by dgtfer » Fri Jan 29, 2021 1:15 pm

Andy1248 wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2021 11:32 am
The scenery folder has only the HeightMaps folder and the .trn file.
It is the initial/first load of the scenery to the LE which will allow me to create the folders an save the scenery including hash files etc.

As I see it there is no alternative other than to use the LE at this early stage. Unless there are other methods.
The use of LE is mandatory for the hash files, but even for very (very) big sceneries, that do not open at all in LE, you can use the command line mode to create your hash files. You open the cmd window, and you type:

C:\CST2\LandscapeEditor.exe -hash YOURVERYVERYBIGSCENERY

Where YOURVERYVERYBIGSCENERY is the name of your scenery.
(of course, if LE is located in the C:\CST2 folder, otherwise you replace this with the proper address).
The process can be very long, you can see the result in your scenery folder.

Everything else can be done without LE.
For creating and editing the various tiles and files, you can use Global Mapper and/or PhotoShop. But it needs the use of an hex-editor for creating the files (trn and tdm) headers. That is a bit complicated, but I can give you full details if you need them.
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Re: UK Scenery

Post by Andy1248 » Fri Jan 29, 2021 4:21 pm

Many Thanks for your help dgtfer.

I now have a working UK scenery. All the South is complete but still needs airfields to be flattened. All the North half will be created on new aligned tiles. Hoping to use most of images etc. I have from North-UK and Scotland scenery.
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Re: UK Scenery

Post by dgtfer » Fri Jan 29, 2021 4:49 pm

Well done Andy, Wellcome in the MegaScenery Club!!
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